Posts Tagged ‘ simplify3d

New 3D Print: Oahu 2.0

I was recently commissioned to re-3d-print my Oahu design from a year and a half ago.  Since then I’ve built a bigger printer (the C-Bot), the terrain2stl software has been improved, I’ve gotten better at painting maps, and I built an X-Carve CNC.  I’m quite pleased with the end results:



  • 3D printed in Makergeeks ‘Nuclear Green’ and ‘Soulful Blue’ PLA.  I paused the print and swapped filament to change from water to land.
  • From tip to tip, the 3d printed part is close to 14″ across.
  • Sliced in Simpilfy3D:  At 200 micron and 90mm\sec with a .4mm nozzle, it took around 7 hours to print.
  • Modeling for both the map and the blue acrylic was done in Autodesk Maya.
  • Terrain was captured via terrain2stl.
  • The blue acrylic was cut on my X-Carve CNC, toolpath generated by Easel, took maybe 10 minutes.
  • After print, I sponged on dark green spray-paint, and after drying, light brown on the mountain tops.
  • The models height is scaled up 2x to exaggerate the terrain.

Another angle:


And the raw print:


If this is something you’d like in your home (or any other map) let me know and we can work something out.

New 3D Print: Maui

I’ve 3d printed a few other maps, and got a lot of enjoyment out of it:

I recently spent a week in Maui:  This gave me inspiration to do a (painted) 3d print of it on my C-Bot:


The below post is an overview of how I designed, printed, and painted it.

Getting the Mesh Data

I first headed to the web app Terrain2STL : This is the great little program that lets you download 3d-printable terrain data.

However, no matter what you set the capture-box size to, it captures the same resolution of data.  If you make the box the size of the whole island of Maui, you end up with a pretty low-resolution capture mesh, based on the detail I want to 3d print.  So the only way to get a ‘high-res’ Maui mesh is to download many small chunks, that will later be seamed together to build a high-res island.

In Terrain2STL, I set the box size (ARC seconds) to 360.  Based on that size, I can adjust the latitude & longitude values by .1 values, to offset the box by one length in either direction.  So stating at the NW corner of Maui, I started capturing squares of it’s mesh.  In total, I made 30 captures.

Assembling the Mesh Data

In Autodesk Maya, I created a new scene, and started importing in each STL that Terrain2STL generated.  Starting in the NW corner, I’d import in the next stl, line it up with the last, and repeat that process.  Which gave me something that looked like this upon completion:


I then went through the process of deleting all the mesh that wasn’t part of the island, stretching all the edges down to make a cliff-like effect, making a base for it, and creating the text.  I also did a lot of mesh cleanup since the Terrain2STL tool isn’t perfect.  Final Maya result:


tried to boolean all the mesh together, but Maya just wouldn’t do it.  This left me frustrated, but I realized that Simplify3D (the slicer I use) allows you to import in multiple mesh:  In Maya, I made sure the pivots of all the mesh were at the origin (so they’d all show up in Simplify3D in the correct location), the transformations frozen, and I exported every individual piece as a new STL.

Slicing The Data

I imported all the stl’s into Simplify3D:  They appeared to all line up correctly.  I wanted the island to be scaled 2x on the Z axis, so I grouped all that mesh, and applied the scale transformation.

But when I sliced it, I noticed lots of little gaps between the mesh chunks:


Come to find out, even though all the mesh was lined up correctly, in some cases… it just wasn’t enough for Simplify3D : This spawned a painful process of me moving pieces, re-slicing, checking gaps, etc.  But eventually I got rid of them all.  The general prints stats were:

  • 200 micron, .4mm E3D-v6 Volcano nozzle
  • Maker Geeks Gray’matter Gray PLA @ @210 deg.  Bed @ 50 deg.
  • 90 mm\sec print speed.
  • 2 shells, 4 roof\floor. 10% ‘fast hexagonal’ infill.

Took around 13 hours to complete.  Based on my 12″x12″ build platform, printed diagonally it came out to 14″ across:


Painting the model

I wanted to try a new (for me) dry-brush technique to show off the mountains.

To start, I shot the whole model in a pleasing Rust-Oleum ‘Meadow Green’ color:


After that dried, I sprayed “Maui Blue” (can’t believe I found a color that matches the medium I’m painting) onto a foam brush, and painted up the ocean.  Finally, I sprayed a light-brown onto a paper towel, and then brushed it across the mountain peaks for the final result.

maui_painted_NW maui_painted_SW

Was really pleased with the results!

Tuning jerk values in Repetier

(Note:  Based on continual feedback I’ve been rewording sections, to hopefully make it clearer)

Now that I’ve switched my C-Bot over to new electronics (RADDS) and firmware (Repetier), it’s time to start getting serious about tuning:  After running some initial test prints, I wasn’t satisfied with the ghosting/ringing that was occurring on the prints, so I decided to tweak the Repetier jerk settings, since I know they can have an impact.

The goal of this test:  Really, to compare how jerk impacts print quality, and print speed (the value you set in our slicer) vs print time (how long the print actually takes).  I’m not making any recommendations based on these results:  You can make your own decisions based on the data presented below, and how that may impact your printer based on it’s mechanics & firmware.

I adjusted the jerk on the fly from the LCD, storing them back to EEPROM before each print.  The default jerk values in Repetier are 20, and can also be set via the ‘Mechanics’ tab via the online configuration tool (requiring a re-flash of the firmware from the Arduino IDE).  There is also a nice description of Jerk via the Repetier Firmware Installation Page.  From that page though, the high-level important stuff:

You want high jerk values, because

  • Printing time is reduced.
  • Print shows less blobs.

You want low jerk values, because

  • It causes less mechanical stress to your printer.
  • Moves are smoother.
  • Filament has better adhesion at directional changes.
  • Reduces printer noise.
  • You loose steps with higher values.

Other Hardware\Slicer Stats:

  • Hardware is RADDS\Arduino Due (32-bit ARM).  Stepper drivers are SD6128’s, at 1/32 microstepping, turned to .55v
  • The C-Bot is core-xy kinematics.
  • I sliced these in Simplify3D:
    • 2 shells, 4 roof\floors, 10% ‘fast hexagonal’ infill.
    • Outline underspeed at 75%:  I didn’t realize this until after the test (since it’s sort of standard operating procedure for better quality), but in hindsight I wish I’d turned it off for this test.
    • 200 micron layer heights.
  • .4mm nozzle on an E3D-v6 Volcano.
  • Print speed adjustment for cooling is disabled (no slowing down for small layers):   I didn’t want the print times to be adjusted because of print cooling.  However, the filament cooling fan is enabled (since I’m printing in PLA).
  • Used MakerGeeks Gray’Matter Gray PLA, printed @ 210 deg (they recommended 230 on the spool, but it seemed unnecessary).
  • In Repetier, my xy acceleration values are 1000 (default).

I printed two sets of three #3DBenchy models:  I chose the benchy since it’s small, but complex.  The first set was with a jerk of 10, the second with a jerk of 40.  For each set of three, printed them with these speeds:  60/90/120 mm/sec.  Below are a list of the times it took to print each.

Stopwatch was started when extrusion began, after nozzle & bed warmup.  Stopwatch was stopped when print completed, and end gcode ran.

Print speed/time comparisons, sorted by jerk:

  • JERK 10 | 60mm/sec:50min | 90mm/sec:43min | 120mm/sec:40min
  • JERK 40 | 60mm/sec:50min | 90mm/sec:35min | 120mm/sec:30min

compare_all(click all images for bigger pics)

What does this tell us about speed/jerk tradeoffs?

Numeric comparison of print time:

Based on the above speeds (mm/sec) and print time (in min) from above.

Comparing JERK 10 to itself:

  • 90mm/sec had a print time 1.16x faster than 60mm/sec, even though the speed was set 1.5x faster.
  • 120mm/sec had a print time 1.075x faster than 90mm/sec, even though the speed was set 1.33x faster.
  • 120mm/sec had a print time 1.25x faster than 60mm/sec, even though the speed was set 2x  faster.

Comparing JERK 40 to itself

  • 90mm/sec had a print time 1.43x faster than 60mm/sec, even though the speed was set 1.5x faster.
  • 120mm/sec had a print time 1.17x faster than 90mm/sec, even though the speed was set 1.33x faster.
  • 120mm/sec had a print time 1.66x faster than 60mm/sec, even though the speed was set 2x faster.

Comparing JERK 10 to JERK 40:

  • 60mm/sec jerk 40 had the exact same print time as jerk 10.
  • 90mm/sec jerk 40 had a print time 1.23x faster than jerk 10.
  • 120mm/sec jerk 40 had a print time 1.33x faster than jerk 10.

Things observed from the numbers:

  • There is not a linear relation in increasing the ‘speed‘ in mm/sec and reduction in print times (which I knew, but it’s nice to see real data back this up).  Meaning, if 50mm/sec took 50 min to print, 100mm/sec won’t take 25min, it will be some value in-between (based on factors like jerk, acceleration).
  • Interesting that 60mm/sec speed had the exact same print times for jerk 10 & 40 :  Guess at that speed the jerk-clamping has a lower effect.
  • There is definitely a point of diminishing returns on high print speed and low jerk.  At a certain point the low jerk clamps the speed so much that it can never accelerate high enough to have an appreciable effect on print time (this is my theory at least).
  • The larger (40) jerk value had the widest range in print time variance (30 min -> 50 min) since (I presume) the jerk wasn’t clamping down the speed so much.

Visual comparison of quality:

Comparing Jerk 10 to itself:


Across the board all speeds of jerk 10 did well quality-wise.  Nearly no ringing at 60mm/sec, and minimal ringing on the 90 & 120mm/sec.   The only really visual differences is the discoloration of the PLA as it was printed faster.

Comparing Jerk 40 to itself:


Ringing across all speeds.  Passable at 60mm/sec, but I don’t like what I see at 90 & 120.

Compare 60mm/sec:


While both had the exact same print time, there is virtually no ringing on the jerk 10, while ringing is visible on the jerk 40.  A strange random print artifact showed up on the smokestack of the jerk 10 that didn’t show up on any other prints.  Ghost in the machine.

Compare 90mm/sec:


Very slight ringing on the jerk 10, ringing is quite apparent on the jerk 40.

Compare 120mm/sec:


Ringing is just starting to show on the jerk 10, and jerk 40 looks like a train-wreck.  Or a ship-wreck.

Final Thoughts, Opinions:

  • The default jerk values in Repetier are 20, which is why I wanted to try two values on either side that would really show off the differences, since I was still getting rigging at 20 at 90mm/sec before this test.
  • I think that you need to make a decision when starting the print:  Quality vs speed?  All depends on what you’re printing.  If this is a structural part where the visual artifacts of ringing are tolerable, then crank up that jerk.  But if it’s a artistic piece, then lower it down.  What’s nice is that you can adjust this from the LCD in Repetier and set it in EEPROM per-print, not requiring any type of re-slicing.
  • Maybe I’ll just set it back to 20.  HA!

Making The OneHundred

I always found it, humorous, when some Instagrammer got ‘X number’ of people and made some crazy post about it:  “LOVE you all, hugs and kisses”, etc.  I recently hit 100, and figured this would give me a good excuse to combine both my 3d-printing and newfound CNC-routing skills:

I’ve been wanting to do a piece that combined both 3d printing and CNC routing, some came up with idea of a routed background, with 3d printed text.  “The OneHundred” was thus created:


Info on the techniques used to make it:

3D Modeling

The model was created in Autodesk Maya:  I wrote a super simple tool to randomize the rotation and position of simple poly cubes that made up the background.  A 3d model of the text was generated, and Booleaned out of the background.  An stl was generated for both the background, and the text.  The piece is 12″ square, by 3/4″ deep.

3D Printing

The text model was sliced using Simplify3D, and printed on my C-Bot directly off the SD card (I recently was printing something via Octoprint, bumped the RaspberryPi, and it lost USB connection half way through a multi-hour print… don’t like that at all).  Settings:

  • Filament: Makergeeks Orange PLA
  • Extruded @ 230deg (hot for PLA, but per manufacturer recommendation), bed @ 60 deg
  • 1.2mm E3D-v6 Volcano nozzle
  • 600 micron layer heights, 1 shell, 20% fast hexagon infill.
  • Print speed is 45 mm/sec : Sounds slow, but that’s a volume of 32.4 mm3/sec extruded.  For those keeping score, a the volume extruded of a .4mm nozzle with 200 micron layer heights at 90mm/sec is 7.2 mm3/sec:  Volcano is printing 4.5x as fast, crazy.
  • Took about 1.5 hours.  (so, based on the above specs, it would have taken 6.75 hours on a ‘normal’ printer).


MeshCAM was used to generate the toolpath cut from the MDF background.  The gcode was sent via the Chilipeppr GRBL workspace.  MeshCAM settings:

  • Roughcut:
    • 1/4″ 2 flute upcut endmill
    • DOC: .0625″
    • Stepover: .125″
    • Feedrate: 60″/minute
    • Took about 1.25 hrs
  • Finish Pass:
    • 1/8″ 2 flute upcut ballnose
    • DOC: .0312″
    • Stepover: .025″
    • Feedrate 60″/minute
    • Took about 3.25 hours

The above settings are completely based on previous trial and error, and could be improved no doubt.  Things I noticed while cutting:

  • Got some chatter on the roughcut, even when I turned up my DeWalt 611 speed all the way.  Guess I was cutting to aggressive.
  • The final piece has more scalloping than I’d like:  Think I need to lessen the stepover next time.
  • Having to babysit the machine for 4.5 hours was… not fun.  But I got to read some magazines I needed to catch up on.

Final Thoughts:

Great learning experience, I’m really getting the two-cut process down using my touchplate.  Can’t wait to do more!

“I am (calibration) Groot”

After recently switching my C-Bot 3d Printer from Bowden to direct drive, I thought I’d give the 1.2mm E3D-v6 Volcano nozzle a shot:  Previously I’d used the 1mm nozzle, but the stringing and blobbing caused by the Bowden made me swap it out for the .6mm nozzle, which I had ok success with the Bowden, and fantastic success with the direct drive.

Rather than print out boring calibration cubes (which I did start with), I thought I’d throw something a bit more complex at the nozzle, and I choose this awesome Groot sculpt from Thingiverse.


Print Stats:

  • Sliced in Simplify 3D, printed via Octoprint.
  • 1.2mm E3d-V6 Volcano nozzle
  • 600 micron layer heights
  • 30mm/sec
  • 210 deg extruded blue Gizmo Dorks PLA
  • 1 shell, 30% “fast hexagonal” infill.
  • 1hr 20 min

Things noted:

  • Really happy with the intentional “low res” print quality.
  • Towards the top of the head, even my super-powerful fan running at full blast wouldn’t cool the giant globs of plastic enough to prevent stringing:  Just so much hot plastic extruding out of there.